I was sleeping the morning of September 11, 2001.
The phone started ringing at 3 o’clock.
It was the Mayor.
“Get in here right away.”
In addition to my regular job as IT Director, I had been heavily involved in Civil Defense for many years.
Stumbling around I threw on some clothes and headed out of the bedroom wondering what the hell is going on.
My wife was in the living room watching something on TV.
People were dying in New York City, the Pentagon and some lonely field in the middle of nowhere.
Red lights flashing I raced into town.
I joined government and military officials in the command center early that morning and we stayed for days.
Everyone – police, fire, emergency medical services scrambling to be ready for… anything.
There are no plans to prepare for “anything”.
Hawaii was a major transit point for terrorists between Indonesia and the mainland.
Anything could happen here.
Cops that hadn’t worn a uniform in years dug them out of the closet and stood guard at buildings, transmission towers and power stations.
Nobody made fun of them if their shirt didn’t fit well anymore or their shoes were dirty.
They were just glad they were there.
The major concern was Waikiki.
It’s a high value target because of the number of international visitors packed into a small area.
All air traffic was grounded except for some planes coming in from Asia and one wasn’t answering the radio calls.
Our discussions turned to whether it might be shot down.
It was a terrible time that tarnished our souls forever.
Like so many others – my life changed that day.
I still am.
It’s a good anger – not the kind that slowly eats a person inside – but one that reminds you that as a nation we failed to protect our own and it must not happen again.
It’s been fourteen years since those attacks on the World Trade Center where nearly 3,000 people died leading to long-running U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The enemy is patient, waiting for when we let our guard down.
There is no way to stop a determined group of fanatics hell-bent on bringing us down.
You can’t stop 100-percent of everything.
That’s why I do what I do now.
Stuff I don’t talk about with the government that adds its little bit in keeping people safe.
It’s our generation’s Pearl Harbor.
I can never forget or forgive.
I hope you can’t either.